CALGARY, Alberta, Oct. 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bellatrix Exploration Ltd. (“Bellatrix” or the “Company”) (TSX: BXE) announces the commencement of a sale and investment solicitation process (the “Strategic Process”) to identify and pursue potential strategic options and alternatives with respect to Bellatrix to maximize value for the benefit of the Company’s stakeholders. The Strategic Process will explore a broad range of strategic options and alternatives that may be available to the Company, including, but not limited to, transactions involving the sale of all or a portion of the business and assets or shares of the Company, or refinancing, recapitalization or other restructuring transactions. The Company intends to explore market interest with a range of potential parties, and remains engaged in ongoing discussions with certain existing key stakeholders in connection with Bellatrix’s potential strategic and restructuring alternatives.
Bellatrix has determined that in the current circumstances it is in the best interests of the Company and its stakeholders to implement the Strategic Process through a court-supervised restructuring proceeding, and has obtained today an initial order (the “Initial Order”) from the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta (the “Court”) commencing proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (the “CCAA”). Pursuant to the Initial Order, among other things, a stay of proceedings has been granted in respect of the Company to allow Bellatrix to continue to operate its business without disruption while it pursues the Strategic Process and seeks to implement a potential sale or other restructuring transaction that may result from such Strategic Process for the benefit of its stakeholders.
“Bellatrix has for an extended period of time focused on its key strategic priorities of reducing debt levels, improving liquidity and strengthening its financial position, including transactions completed by the Company in 2018 and 2019 to, among other things, provide additional needed liquidity and to reduce its overall senior note and convertible debenture obligations,” said Brent Eshleman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bellatrix. “In light of industry challenges facing the Western Canadian oil and natural gas sector, including prolonged and continued poor natural gas and natural gas liquids prices, we believe that the commencement of the CCAA restructuring proceedings at this time will provide the Company with the time and stability required to continue operating our business while we work to implement the Strategic Process and achieve an outcome that is in the best interests of Bellatrix and our stakeholders.”
Bellatrix has engaged BMO Capital Markets as its financial advisor to assist the Company in connection with the conduct and implementation of the Strategic Process.
There can be no assurance that the Strategic Process will result in a transaction, and given the level of secured debt obligations of the Company, there can be no assurance with respect to the levels of recovery that may be available to satisfy claims made by the Company’s secured or unsecured creditors, and its shareholders.
Additional information with respect to the Strategic Process will be made available by the Company as determined necessary or appropriate by the Company.
In connection with pursuit of its Strategic Process and the CCAA proceedings, Bellatrix has obtained US$15 million of interim financing (the “Interim Financing”) from certain holders of its secured notes, which Interim Financing was approved by the Court pursuant to the Initial Order. The Interim Financing provides the Company with additional funding to support its ongoing operations without disruption while Bellatrix pursues the Strategic Process.
Bellatrix intends to continue to pay its employees for services rendered during the CCAA proceedings and intends to pay its suppliers for goods and services provided to the Company following the commencement of the CCAA proceedings. PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. has been appointed as monitor (the “Monitor”) in the CCAA proceedings. Materials publicly filed in the CCAA proceedings, including copies of the Initial Order and the Strategic Process, will be made available on the Monitor’s website at http://www.pwc.com/ca/bellatrix.
A comeback hearing in respect of the relief granted pursuant to the Initial Order has been scheduled for October 9, 2019 (the “Comeback Hearing”). Interested parties wishing to bring a motion at the Comeback Hearing are required to provide notice to the affected parties prior to the Comeback Hearing pursuant to the requirements set forth in the Initial Order.
Goodmans LLP is acting as legal counsel to Bellatrix in connection with the Strategic Process and the CCAA proceedings.
In accordance with the policies of the Toronto Stock Exchange (the “TSX”), in connection with the CCAA proceedings, the TSX will be reviewing the continued listing of the common shares of the Company. The common shares of the Company have been suspended from trading at this time.
Bellatrix Exploration Ltd. is a publicly traded Western Canadian based growth oriented oil and gas company engaged in the exploration for, and the acquisition, development and production of oil and natural gas reserves, with highly concentrated operations in west central Alberta, principally focused on profitable development of the Spirit River liquids rich natural gas play.